Keeping written records of what you observe when looking in your hives is extremely important. There are many ways to accomplish this. Some beekeepers write on the lids, others write notes and put them under the inner cover, and some have a code system of bricks on the lids.
I prefer written records. I use a form which I photocopy, and keep in a ringed notebook. Each time I open a hive I use a fresh form, and place it over the form from the previous visit. Just as important, I review the previous record BEFORE I open a hive. Thus I know what I observed on the previous visit, and can tell if things look the same, better, or if there may be a problem that has developed. I note things like: how much brood is in the hive, if I saw the queen, number of frames covered with bees – hive strength, etc. I also make notes about what I need to do, such as adding honey supers, or replacing equipment – as in “replace a bad bottom board”. Feel free to download a PDF of my form, use it, or re-type it, and adapt it for your own needs. There is no wrong way to keep records.
I will also share an example of a hive record example with notes from a hive visit. Sometimes I write a lot, more normally a lot of abbreviations. In a future post I will share more of the types of notes that I make, but wanted to let folks have the form now.